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Discussion: Need For National Ranking System

Posted Discussion
Feb. 9, 2009
1 posts
Need For National Ranking System
The length of the Audie Hollis letter reveals how much he cares about his subject. He makes many good points and I mostly agree with everything he writes, but I would like to add my two cents to the mix.

Back in the late 1980's, I played in one of the earliest so-called World Series, which was a national tournament. There were age divisions back then, but no rankings to separate the good teams from the bad; you just entered and took your chances against whichever team you were assigned to play. As you can imagine, there were many, many mismatches along the way, and it soon became apparent that a ranking system was needed to make the whole thing more competitive for teams of varying abilities.

As the idea grew of competing against teams from different parts of the country, various organizations were formed and they each began to run their own version of a national tournament. The levels of play became more of what it is today, with divisions such as Super Majors, Majors, Triple AAA, etc. And, governing the whole thing was an encyclopedia of confusing rules. The game soon took on a look of something other than what we all grew up with.

But, the national tournament idea flourished and more teams became enamored of competing in something like a major league of senior softball. Players loved the recognition that came with it, and if you were lucky to win a championship, your could buy yourself a ring. But, why play the top teams, when, if you could come up with a good excuse, you might be able to talk your way down the in the rankings and wind up with an easier schedule?

Some people became really adept at crying the blues, which didn't disturb anyone other than the team that had to replace them in a higher bracket. The national organizations, not being stupid, knew what was going on, but they gave in to the song and dance people anyway because they threatened to withdraw and not come if they didn't get their way. It's not hard to understand, 90 teams in attendance is more profitable than if they only had 85.

And so it was unfortunately true, that the schedules of many national tournaments had such outlandish mismatches as the Peoria Pea Shooters in the same bracket with the Birmingham Bombers, while there were teams in the Pea Shooters' bracket who didn't belong there, and wiped out the field as a result.

I have long been of the opinion that there is a need for an Independent National Ranking System for all teams that participate in a national tournament. And, with this, you can throw away all the various divisions, from Super Majors down to Double AA.

Sounds drastic, but consider: If there is a national ranking for all teams, their individual ranking numbers should say it all. Bracket the teams in their sequential order. No more seeding rounds, which of themselves are breeding grounds for fraud and manipulation. Go right to the medal rounds, and make them more involved and competitive by having teams play in brackets more equal to their ranking.

The top bracket will, essentially, be the equivalent of the Super Majors, anyway. so you really don't need that designation to let people know the quality of the teams involved. Ranking numbers should do that quite well.

The idea is to COMPETE for your ring. The idea is to make it hard to win, because, there is nothing to compare with winning a championship in a tough tournament against teams of equal ability. To win a championship any other way makes a mockery of that championship. The ring associated with it means nothing. I don't know why anyone would want to wear such a ring without having really earned it.

National organizations might be reluctant to accept a national ranking system because they would feel it
could affect their overall attendance. After all, if they don't submit to teams who threaten not to come, those teams would, indeed, stay home. But, wouldn't their numbers be offset if more if teams around the country were assured they would not be overmatched against a vastly superior team? The Peoria Pea Shooters would gladly be a part of a tournament in which they would match up nicely with the Scranton Muffins. Let the Birmingham Bombers play the Florida Legends, that would be a great match-up.

Finally, with national rankings, we can have a true NATIONAL CHAMPION in each age division at the end of each year. Perhaps even, a National Championship game?? Wouldn't that be something?

Rudy Strauss

Feb. 9, 2009
Men's 65
4549 posts
You can read on the Summit page this was, maybe still is, a goal for them. That page was made back in Oct '07. I inquired about an updated version but other than removing the date from it, I don't think anything has changed.
Seems they all agree to disagree, like we all do here on various subjects, the ratings being one, balls 2, DBO 3, etc, etc.
They do agree on, playing softball.
Feb. 9, 2009
Men's 65
3146 posts
Half way through reading you post I was thinking that you are talking about a rating system much like the Florida Half Century association. When I saw your name that explained it.
I think that system would revolutionize senior softball.
Feb. 9, 2009
Men's 55
58 posts
rudy great post that is how we do it in ncssa and it works great.I think it would be great we have 110 teams and they are all rank so there would be no sand bagging does not matter how old you are just how good you are.That would be the best way plus you would have more teams.
Feb. 9, 2009
Men's 60
246 posts
I love the way the Florida Half Century is run with unlimited home runs, unlimited runs per inning, good balls and senior bats. It is always well run and extremely competitive as you play one tournament a month with 4 games in your bracket of five teams. For example. My team is rated fourth. Therefore, the next tournament we will probably play #1, #2 #3 and #5. If we have a losing record after 3 months they will move us down and a hot team up. Now, this works fine for us but how would this work at a national tournament. Say 100 teams show up. Do you have the top 16 as one bracket, the next 24 as another, the next 24 as another and the remaining 36 as another? Or just how would you propose dividing the 100 teams up so for example the #15 team thinks they have a chance and will be willing to play?
Feb. 10, 2009
Men's 55
58 posts
audieh good imput ithink this is the best way to go you could have 10 team bracket best record over two days wins.this i think is the best way to go for senior softball more teams more fun for more aa aaa major major+ only fair way to do it.
Feb. 12, 2009
Omar Khayyam
1243 posts
A unified ranking is indeed how Northern California Senior Softball Association does it. The rankings have gotten more accurate as TDs and decision makers have become more proficient in weighing all the variables. Only drawback is the age disparity in some tournaments. A good 65 team might win or place high in a few tournaments against other 65 competition and get moved up in the rankings. At the next tournament, they find themselves playing 60s, 55s, even 50 teams! (This happened to us last year).

Let me tell you, there is a BIG difference between a 50 year old and a 69 year old, even a team with weak 50 year olds. The younger fellas are faster, better arms (not necessarily better hitters), and more power. The real challenge is Sunday, when oldsters take more time to recover and their lessened stamina becomes evident. A check of tournaments will show that these mismatches almost always favor the younger team. The same disparity is even more obvious when 70s teams play 60s and 55s. In other words, not a perfect solution.
Feb. 12, 2009
197 posts
Not perfect but not bad either...........
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